Background: Invasive fungal infections are a devastating complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatment. We aimed to determine the incidence of fungal infections in IBD patients and examine the risk with tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors (anti-TNF) compared with corticosteroids. Methods: In a retrospective cohort study using the IBM MarketScan Commercial Database we identified US patients with IBD and at least 6 months enrollment from 2006 to 2018. The primary outcome was a composite of invasive fungal infections, identified by ICD-9/10-CM codes plus antifungal treatment. Tuberculosis (TB) infections were a secondary outcome, with infections presented as cases/100 000 person-years (PY). A proportional hazards model was used to determine the association of IBD medications (as time-dependent variables) and invasive fungal infections, controlling for comorbidities and IBD severity. Results: Among 652 920 patients with IBD, the rate of invasive fungal infections was 47.9 cases per 100 000 PY (95% CI 44.7-51.4), which was more than double the TB rate (22 cases [CI 20-24], per 100 000 PY). Histoplasmosis was the most common invasive fungal infection (12.0 cases [CI 10.4-13.8] per 100 000 PY). After controlling for comorbidities and IBD severity, corticosteroids (hazard ratio [HR] 5.4; CI 4.6-6.2) and anti-TNFs (HR 1.6; CI 1.3-2.1) were associated with invasive fungal infections. Conclusions: Invasive fungal infections are more common than TB in patients with IBD. The risk of invasive fungal infections with corticosteroids is more than double that of anti-TNFs. Minimizing corticosteroid use in IBD patients may decrease the risk of fungal infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberotad010
JournalCrohn's and Colitis 360
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023


  • Crohn's disease
  • candidiasis
  • histoplasmosis
  • immune suppression
  • ulcerative colitis


Dive into the research topics of 'Corticosteroids Increase the Risk of Invasive Fungal Infections More Than Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha Inhibitors in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this